NASCAR Media Conference
September 18, 2007
DENISE MALOOF: We are happy now to be joined by Joey Logano, who is the 17-year-old driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs driven Chevrolet. Joey needs to start this Friday's NASCAR Busch East Series event on the Dover to clinch his first NASCAR title of any kind.
Joey, welcome to the teleconference.
JOEY LOGANO: How you doing?
DENISE MALOOF: Quickly, what are your thoughts as you approach this milestone?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, Dover is a pretty good racetrack. I've never been there before. Everyone I talk to says it's pretty awesome. Looking forward to going there really. No pressure. It's kind of nice to go there and don't have to worry about points or anything. Just go there for the checkered flag.
DENISE MALOOF: We'll go straight to media questions for you.
Q. Joey, going back all to your quarter midget days, was there ever a question about which direction you would go in racing, any thoughts of IndyCars or even Formula One, or was it always NASCAR? Who all was involved in your sort of direction making and decision making?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, since I was little I always wanted to drive in the Cup Series. That's always what I wanted to do. Really I don't think my mom would let me drive an open-wheel car (laughter).
You know, I think my mom and my dad really helped me out a lot. Mark Martin for sure is one. Donnie Allison. All those people have helped me out there so much. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without them.
Q. You've grown a few inches while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Can you describe what it's like physically and mentally to grow up under contract.
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I mean, it's pretty cool to be signed with Gibbs. This is always my dream, to be able to do this. So definitely, you know, I'm actually out here at National testing right now. There's some pressure to it. But, you know, it's fun for me.
Q. Could you talk about how hard or easy it might be to be patient until next May to get into the Busch Series, and also, is there a timetable? Chase Austin is getting in after his 18th birthday. Talk about the timetable that Gibbs has for you. Is it hard or easy to be patient about that?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I mean, it's not that hard. It's the same for everybody. I've been through that type of stuff my whole life, going all the way back to Legends cars. I was 9. I had to wait till I was 12 to race one. Tried a couple times. Got shot down.
But I've kind of been through that whole thing my whole life. I had to wait till I was 16 to run the East series this year. It's nothing real new for me. I'm trying to get as much experience as I can right now. I know next year I'll be in a Busch car, I'm just not sure when or where yet.
Q. Mark Martin when you were 15 anointed you as the next big thing in NASCAR. How did you deal with the expectations, people saying it was only a matter of time till you made it to the level where you were now? How did you deal with that when other kids were worrying about homework?
JOEY LOGANO: Well, I mean, I thought it was kind of cool. It's always what I wanted to do, like I said. You know, I don't feel a bunch of pressure from that, you know, because I feel like I put more pressure on myself to win than anyone else does.
I didn't really feel much pressure from it. I thought it was pretty neat.
Q. What do you expect will be the highest hurdle when you move up and you're finally in the NASCAR level with people many years more experienced than you? What do you expect will be the highest hurdle for you there?
JOEY LOGANO: I'm not really sure. You know, I mean, racing stuff is going to be a hurdle and all that stuff. But probably going to most of these new tracks that a lot of the other drivers have been to, get acclimated with the places real quick, will probably be the biggest hurdle.
Q. When you look at the upper levels of JGR at this point, you see Tony Stewart is critical of a lot of young drivers coming up, even critical of his own teammate this year. Is it at all disconcerting to know you're going to be coming up under such a sort of demanding driver who is pretty open with his critiques of other drivers?
JOEY LOGANO: No. I think it's something good, to be honest with you. I think for anyone to critique you as good as Tony Stewart, one of the best drivers out there, I mean, I think that's fine. I'm open to criticism. I think that's what makes you better.
DENISE MALOOF: Joey, what is your sense about this milestone itself? It's certainly something that not most 17-year-olds get to do.
JOEY LOGANO: No, definitely not. To get a championship this year would be awesome. I'm not sure how many records I broke doing it. You know, I mean, it's what we tried for all year. That was our goal starting out this year. You know, it's just awesome to get one.
DENISE MALOOF: Have you simply put the blinders on and sort of looked at that all season long?
JOEY LOGANO: Pretty much. You know, I mean, we go out there to win every race. Points follow with that. Thankfully we won plenty of races this year.
Q. How do you view JGR's switch to Toyota? Was it kind of a thing like they're going away from very proven Chevrolet, or do you figure they'll have everything pretty much sorted out by the time you get to the top level?
JOEY LOGANO: I think it's a great thing, to be honest with you, being the No. 1 Toyota team, having all the money and resources behind us now. I think it's only going to make JGR better for sure.
You know, I mean, we're going to start getting some of the stuff ready pretty soon, I think. It should be good.
Q. You spent more time on a racetrack before you got your public driver's license. What happened to you when you got on the road and you were dealing with all these amateur people out here in the public?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, it's the same as anyone else on the highway. You know, I mean, you can't drive fast on the highway. So, I mean, it was a little different when cars are driving at you from the other side of the road. But once you get used to that, it's fine (laughter).
DENISE MALOOF: That does it for today. We certainly appreciate you taking the time out to join us.
JOEY LOGANO: Thank you.
DENISE MALOOF: Good luck this weekend. Thank you to the media for dialing in again for our regular weekly teleconference. We'll see you next week.
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